Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd might be copping some flak for his asylum seeker plan, but he’s made plenty of friends in Australia’s music scene. The PM has now announced that the federal government will spend $560,000 over three years to establish a National Office for Live Music.
The money pledged will also help to establish a national task force who will be responsible for devising a strategy to support live music in Australia. The PM recently attended a SLAM fund-raiser dinner in Melbourne with Gotye, Jebediah frontman Kevin Mitchell, and TV’s Andrew Denton and Matt Preston.
Mitchell will be part of a group of several other Australian artists who’ve been appointed as “ambassadors” for live music in their states. The list includes Dave Faulkner and Stavros Yiannoukas of Bluejuice as ambassadors for NSW, Suffa of Hilltop Hoods as representative for South Australia, Katie Noonan as Queensland ambassador, Leah Flanagan the ambassador for the Northern Territory, Kav Temperley of Eskimo Joe for WA, and Dewayne Everett-Smith for Tasmania.
Mitchell, who will serve as Victoria’s ambassador, said that he owed both his “job” and his “friends” to the Australian live music scene. Mitchell had this to say about the importance of the scene to young bands:
“When I first started playing music with Jebediah in Perth in 1995 we never talked about making records, we just dreamed of playing gigs at all our favourite venues that we’d gone to see our favourite bands play in before us.”
Things may be looking up for Australian live music, which has seen venues fall like dominoes to draconian liquor-licensing laws and dwindling business. K. Rudd’s plan may help him snag a few votes in the 18-25 demographic, but no word yet on what this will all mean for Melbourne’s mighty Palace Theatre, still under threat of redevelopment.
(Via The Age)